Public health is a broad field that seeks to prevent illnesses and promote overall health and well-being. It is an interdisciplinary field, which allows professionals to specialize in various areas such as data analysis, public policy, health economics, mental health, and occupational safety, among others. Public health professionals can work as nurses, sociologists, or public health inspectors. This field presents many career opportunities in government, research, medical practice, and private businesses.
To land higher positions, advanced education is usually required. Thankfully, many online master‘s degree programs in public health are available that can help undergraduate or working professionals pursue leadership roles and higher earnings. According to PayScale, graduates with a master‘s degree in public health typically make an average yearly salary of around $55,000 in the early stages of their careers (U.S. News, n.d.).
This post will address admission requirements, factors to consider when selecting a program, and career paths associated with a master‘s degree in public health.
Yes. Convenience from remote learning methods, freedom to choose a learning style, and effective time management are the top reasons why many students prefer to earn their degrees completely online. For students or professionals planning to take a master’s degree in public health program, there is also an online platform available to them (Hudgeons, 2021).
The number of employers recognizing the credibility of online degree programs these days is pretty higher compared before and this is because many schools are getting better in this new learning style. Another reason for the wide acceptance of online degrees is that many employers now are alumni of these degrees themselves (University of the Potomac, 2020).
Source: Accredited Schools Online, 2021
Accredited online degree programs in public health are well recognized all over the world, especially as prestigious institutes are now offering fully online degree courses. Encountering negative comments about your online degree will be inevitable, but as long as you can answer questions properly, know and understand how things work, and exhibit the necessary skills, you should not have anything to be concerned about.
Master’s degrees in public health focus on disease study, health program creation and evaluation, and community education. These programs teach subjects, such as biostatistics, international health systems, and communication strategies for public health. Full-time students normally complete these programs in two years. They may be required to take internships to gain real-world experience (Best Colleges, 2020). Thesis, practicum, or a capstone project may also serve as their culminating experience.
In a traditional classroom, you have to prioritize attending to classes. In online education, however, you can study at your own pace and only whenever you have the time.
Online degree courses in public health could make you miss out on the focused attention that a teacher provides. Nevertheless, schools offering these degrees have a website for those who need advisement.
You will meet a lot of people who you could make good friends with when attending a traditional school. These friendships could even last beyond college as you may meet other people who share the same ambitions and goals as you. Gaining friends online is still possible, but not as harmonious as the ones gained personally and over a long period of time.
Schools offering online degree programs are usually more affordable than traditional schools due to a number of reasons. These schools have fewer expenses to shoulder. Most of them also do not have land, buildings, or properties to take care of. On top of that, they do not have huge manpower to pay regularly. All of these elements enable online schools to offer cheap college costs (Best Value Schools, 2021).
Online degrees usually follow the same extensive academic program as regular degrees, resulting in similar career and salary opportunities for online degree graduates (U.S. News, n.d.).
State residency is a crucial component as many schools impose higher costs for out-of-state residents. However, there are schools imposing flat tuition on online students regardless of their location. Technology fees can also make overall tuition quite costly.
A traditional master’s degree in public health basically costs $16,000 to $33,000 for in-state tuition and fees and $25,000 to $60,000 for out-of-state tuition and fees (Cost Helper Education, n.d.). Taking this degree online will cost students between $550 and $1,800 per credit. Total tuition may range from $25,000 to $87,000 (U.S. News, n.d.).
Healthcare may not be one of the easiest college majors but it is one that holds a lot of promise. Healthcare costs are still on the rise, urging communities and organizations to work hard in teaching people about healthy practices, enhance access to health services, and develop treatments and cures for diseases and illnesses. Hence, the public health industry should still expect remarkable growth in the next years. Moreover, a master’s degree is a sure stepping stone to pursue an even higher learning, such as a doctorate degree in public health.
The 2021 article “The growth of Australian public health graduates and courses, 2001-2018: implications for education and employment opportunities” forecasts the supply of public health workers and makes inferences about the future of public health employment. While talking about the demand for public health jobs, the study indicates that the demand may change due to the recent events of 2020. “As state and federal governments are major employers of public health workers, we may expect COVID-19 to increase demand for these graduates. This year has seen repeated calls for a bolstering of the public health workforce at state and federal levels in order to better protect the nation’s health, and it is reasonable to suggest that those trained in public health could fulfill such roles. Another important reason to consider job opportunities carefully is that the popularity of public health degrees may rise as a result of COVID-10, as similar trends have been observed in Canada after SARS in 2003.” Written by Rory Watts et al., this study is published on Wiley Online Library.
Source: Data USA
Students will be required to have their own desktop or laptop throughout the online degree program. Check with your prospective schools as some of them list their own recommended technology (Tulane University, n.d.).
For the best online master’s degree in public health programs, expect the following courses:
The school, program, and many other things play a significant part in creating your future in the public health field. Before you enroll in one, take time to ponder on the points below.
Accreditation proves that a school or program fulfills certain standards set by a regulating agency. Many undergraduate and graduate programs in public health are accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH), the most respected programmatic accreditation agency reviewing and approving public health education programs in the U.S.
In a graduate study, you will have more chances to work closely with your instructors. Choose a program led by professors whose qualifications, experience, and outlooks can help you reach your goals.
Attending a reputable school may not necessarily affect your career or salary potential, but they usually have advanced facilities and resources, outstanding networks of alumni, and credible faculty.
Public health programs should be inclusive of internships and other initiatives that offer real-world experience. Working at a clinic or hospital can grow your network and let you apply your learning to real health issues and concerns.
Look for private scholarships offered to public health master students. Some scholarship opportunities for this degree are Albert W. Dent Graduate Student Scholarship, Udall Scholarship, and Foster G. McGaw Graduate Student Scholarship.
People are alive and well today due to a number of public health programs that were launched a long time ago. Think of vaccination programs, vehicle safety policies, tobacco use regulation, family planning, clean air and water provisions, and many more (University of Pittsburgh, n.d.).
If you want to add more health initiatives to help more people live healthier and longer lives, an online master’s in public health would be the perfect choice for you. Through research, prevention, advocacy, and proper education, you can significantly impact the wellbeing of each and every country in the world, even the most underserved populations.
People are also more proactive in maintaining proper nutrition and looking after their bodies through exercise and sports regimen. No wonder then that demands for professions related to these are at an all-time high. Consequently, many pursue these fields by acquiring undergraduate and online master’s degree in sports management, among others.